8 August, 2014
Volume 19 No. 32
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In This Issue

Smarter Balanced Achievement Level Setting

Desmos Central Park

Google Maps Goes the Distance Again


Online PD

Orientation Sessions

Problem Based Learning Courses

Graduate Credit:
Mathematics Teaching and Learning Certificate

Master's Degree


Smarter Balanced Achievement Level Setting


The Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium has invited educators and other stakeholders nationwide to participate in an online panel that will establish cut scores.

Participation entails reviewing test questions and recommending achievement level scores that establish "challenging, fair expectations" for students. It costs nothing beyond requiring up to three hours' time online at the beginning of October.

Twenty-one U.S. states belong to the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium. To learn more about Achievement Level Setting, download the consortium's Facts & FAQ PDF:


Desmos Central Park


Last week, the makers of a free online graphing calculator blazed a new path from arithmetic to algebra.

"Central Park" begins by challenging students to drag lines so as to make equally-spaced parking spots. When they get that spacing right, cars park in the lot. Students then face harder tasks — different size lots, line widths, and numbers of spaces — which demand increasingly more careful estimations, more precise calculations, and ultimately algebraic representations:


This activity comes out of a collaboration between online grapher Desmos and teachers Dan Meyer and Christopher Danielson. Its animations and accompanying class management and feedback tools resemble Desmos' Function Carnival activity, featured in these pages upon its release in January:


Desmos' free online graphing calculator zooms in and out of plots, offers slider bars to explore parameters, switches between Cartesian and polar coordinates, and much more. Check it out, and in particular its staff picks of "Creative Art":


Google Maps Goes the Distance Again


Swayed by popular demand, Google recently reinstated a slick measurement feature: the ability to calculate the total distance of lines drawn on its interactive maps of the planet.

Right-click on a starting point, or click on it while holding down the "control" key, and select "Measure Distance" in Google Maps:


Then just click anywhere else on the map to create a path for the search engine to measure.

For further instructions, consult Google Maps' "help" documentation:



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